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Merry Maids UK ‘Forget Me Knot Challenge’ Raises £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society

The Merry Maids UK Forget Me Knot Challenge has raised over £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends.

At Merry Maids UK, we are a nationwide cleaning franchise that has long had our heart in care and the community.

When, in 2014, a friend of the Croydon-based franchise, Debbie Walker, was researching a PhD thesis on dementia patients and told her about Dementia Friends, we began to work closely with the charity and have never looked back.

Our Merry Maids business owners provide care across the UK through compassionate and professional home cleaning services.

This often means they encounter members of the public living with dementia and struggling with the disease.

This year, we took our dedication to giving back a mammoth step further by undertaking the Forget Me Knot Challenge – which has raised over £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Society.

The Forget Me Knot Challenge

The Forget Me Knot Challenge – named in reference to the tying together of Merry Maids businesses and the small blue flower that has long been associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia – was a sponsored virtual relay in which staff and owners from Merry Maids businesses across the UK ran, walked, or cycled the equivalent total mileage between each Merry Maids UK business.

The results

Cleaners, business owners, customers and head-office staff from across the UK put forward donations, helping raise over £4,000 – achieving more than double their initial £1000 donations and 2345 mileage targets.

Collectively, the Merry Maids franchise network has walked 4796.14 miles – the distance between London and Dallas, Texas!

Our stories

With over 900,000 people estimated to be living with dementia or Alzheimer’s in the UK today, it is likely that we all know or have known someone affected.

Each participant had their reasons for taking part.

Like Mike Fargher of Merry Maids in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, who racked up 1186 miles and generous donations by cycling and pledging £1 per mile.

“Our Merry Maids business has had many encounters with Dementia over the years,” says Mike.

“We have some long-term clients that did not have dementia when we started to clean for them but sadly now have it.  We also take on new clients where they, and their families, wish to remain in their own homes and, with the support of ourselves and other outside agencies, can do so.”

“Sometimes a client wants to chat over a cup of tea, to tell you about their life, family and other interests. The Maids may have heard the same stories several times but will listen as if it was the first time they heard it.”

Or the team in Fylde, Blackpool and Preston – including maids Angela and Bernie – who each has had multiple family members live with the disease.

“I’m doing the Forget Me Knot Challenge because I’ve been through dementia experiences three times so far, and I’m just about to go through my fourth with my dad,” Angela said back in July.

“It’s devastating. The person you once knew changes into somebody else.”

“They don’t die… straight away. It’s a long process. But they change. They’re unrecognisable as the person you once knew.”

“You have to be kind to one another. You have to talk. Don’t bottle things up, and listen. Listen to the person who is ill because they are just as confused as you are.”

“It’s important that we help them to feel as normal as possible for as long as possible. We must find ways of making this illness easier to live with, raise awareness and money to develop new medication to help slow this process.”

Learn more

To learn more about Merry Maids UK and our work with Alzheimer’s Society, call 0800 021 3072.

If you or someone you know would benefit from a professional and compassionate, regular or one-off, home cleaning service from the dementia friends at Merry Maids UK, find your nearest Merry Maids business or visit our online shop today.

Merry Maids Forget Me Knot Challenge: Angela from Fylde and Blackpool shares her story

Angela from Merry Maids in Fylde and Blackpool shares her family history with dementia.

At Merry Maids UK, our teams nationwide are undertaking The Forget Me Knot challenge.

This is a sponsored virtual relay in which staff and owners from Merry Maids businesses across the UK run, walk, or cycle the equivalent total mileage between each Merry Maids UK business, tying them together and raising funds for Dementia Friends/ Alzheimer’s Society: creating the Forget Me Knot.

Angela from Merry Maids Fylde, Blackpool and Preston has a long history with the disease, which has impacted both her parents and mother-in-law.

Alongside participating in the challenge, which will contribute towards bettering care and finding cures for Alzheimer’s, Angela shared her story with us.

Angela’s Story

In a touching video that you can watch in full on our YouTube channel, Angela opens up about her experience.

“I’m doing the Forget Me Knot challenge because I’ve been through dementia experiences three times so far, and I’m just about to go through my fourth with my dad,” she says.

The conditions that Angela and her family have faced have varied.

From Alzheimer’s to frontal temporal and vascular dementia, the experiences and maladies were “completely different” each time.

“It’s devastating,” she says. “The person you once knew changes into somebody else.”

“They don’t die… straight away. It’s a long process. But they change. They’re unrecognisable as the person you once knew.”

Why Supporting Alzheimer’s Society Matters

Angela describes the experience and how frightening it is, particularly in the early stages, where the family had little information about what was happening to their loved ones.

“You need to talk to people,” she says. “You need people to help you, so you haven’t got to be afraid to ask for help.”

Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends do just this.

They are there to support and inform members of the public about Alzheimer’s and its varying forms so that we can all be prepared should we encounter the disease.

Dementia Advisers from Alzheimer’s Society provide critical support to people throughout their experiences with dementia, allowing people living with the condition and their carers to access expert support.

Our support will also mean they can invest in ground-breaking research into better ways of treating and caring for people with dementia.

Dementia Friends, as a subset of Alzheimer’s Society, trains people and businesses like ours to interact with people with dementia.

At Merry Maids UK, we often serve members of the public living with dementia and ensure that through Dementia Friends, our staff are trained to provide care and support while cleaning their homes – as they often cannot do it for themselves.

Whether making them a cup of tea or being a friendly and recognisable face, there are many ways to be there for those who need it.

As Angela says:

“You have to be kind to one another. You have to talk. Don’t bottle things up, and listen.

“Listen to the person who is ill because they are just as confused as you are.”

“It’s really important that we help them to feel as normal as possible for as long as possible. We have to try and find some kind of way of making this illness easier to live with.”

How you can support us and Alzheimer’s Society

As Angela says:

“It’s very important that we raise awareness and help raise money to develop new medication to help slow this process. Because it really is devastating. It really is.”

The Merry Maids UK Forget Me Knot challenge will continue to run throughout the summer months – with our teams nationwide getting involved in the virtual relay.

You can support our teams by sponsoring us in this endeavour via donations to our JustGiving page.

All proceeds will be given to Alzheimer’s Society.

Or you can become a Dementia Friend today, either online or through a more comprehensive and in-person training session.

If you or a loved one knows someone who is struggling with dementia, see how we can help to give them a better quality of life for as long as possible by finding your nearest Merry Maids business today.